MOzen – The Best Empty Restaurant in Town

[nggallery id=857]

Sushi rolls that kick Nobu’s ass. murgh mukhani (chicken curry) and a mustard chicken tikka that make you drop your fork. Vegetable pakoras shaming most Indians in our humble burg…and a lasagna Bolognese that could teach Mario Batali a thing or two…yeah, that’s what’s available every day in an empty dining room at lunch at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Continue reading “MOzen – The Best Empty Restaurant in Town”

MOZEN Indian (Dots Not Feathers) Food

[nggallery id=755]

We’re not saying MOzen’s Indian (dots not feathers) food is good, but every time Shawn Armstrong comes out of the kitchen to accept our accolades, we half expect him to be wearing a pagri and chanting his mantra.

No, this Indian food isn’t good….it’s real good. Maybe the best vindaloo we’ve ever had. Rich, deeply flavored and possessing a deep, residual heat the soothes rather than sears the back of your palate. The reason it’s so good, is because Houston-native Armstrong spent eleven years cooking various Southeast Asian cuisines in hotels throughout the region. ELV only wishes more native-Indian and Indian-American cooks shared his passion for this food.

Armstrong’s butter chicken (murgh mukhani)  — first seared in the tandoori — is a bit more gringo-friendly, but flavorful like you don’t get in many, generic Indian joints that use cheap groceries and churn out perfunctory versions of this standard.

Singapore stingray isn’t exactly from the sub-continent, but a spicy and fresh (almost Mexican) take on a food hawker standard from the land that was once described as “Disneyland with the death penalty.”

Both of these came with nutty and perfumed basmati rice that had us dropping our fork in appreciation.

By the way, the very non-Indian lettuce wedge with blue cheese dressing and house-cured bacon is pretty darn good too.

As were the desserts and the service.

About the only thing not to like about MOzen is the somewhat sterile, generic, beige decor. But the staff is so warm and friendly, and the grub so tasty, that pretty soon you look right past this minor flaw and concentrate on your plate…with an occasional glance down on the hoi polloi streaming into Crystals Mall.

As you do so, you’ll no doubt congratulate yourself for having the good taste to dine in Las Vegas’ best three-meal-a-day dining room.

And when you get the bill — with its 20% off for locals — you’ll feel great about the bargain you just got as well.

Great enough, in fact, to make a Hindu out of you.

The above meal with 2 $13 bottles of Pellegrino (whew!), came to $141.00 minus a $28 discount plus a $29 tip. In other words — $150.00 — for a mountain of food that ELV chowed down upon for two more days.


In the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89158


MOzen Lunch

MOzen sits on the third floor of the Mandarin Oriental and serves as a three meal a day restaurant for the hotel’s well-heeled patrons.

Chef Shawn Armstrong oversees an operation that’s as adept at turning out superior sushi as it is an authentic lamb curry or first rate braised short ribs and pork bellies.

He and his staff have to be the culinary equivalent of a utility infielder because they never know what Arab potentate, Chinese high roller or Japanese mogul might stroll through the doors at any minute.

After two meals here (breakfast and lunch), we’ve yet to find a flaw in any of the food (except for sous vide-ing the meat – something we can excuse in a busy hotel restaurant)….and the elegant/intimate setting and the view and the service might put it at the top of all the three-meal-a-day hotel restaurants in town.

Once we have dinner here, we’ll let you know.